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The competence process

The Teaching Council’s Triage Committee can, if their initial assessment of a report or complaint raises an issue about a teacher’s competence, refer the issue to a Professional Practice Evaluator. The Evaluator will investigate and may try to reach an agreement with the teacher to place some conditions on the teacher’s work.

The Professional Practice Evaluator can also refer the case on to the Competence Authority, which has the power to impose conditions. The Authority may cancel the teacher’s registration, practising certificate and limited authority to teach.

This isn’t a disciplinary process. The purpose of the competence process is to evaluate whether or not the teacher is competent (as measured against the Standards for the Teaching Profession). If the teacher is found not to be competent, steps can be taken to improve their performance. In some cases, however, the teacher’s practising certificate may be cancelled.

The Professional Practice Evaluator's investigation

When an issue is assigned to an Evaluator, the teacher is informed about the next steps. The teacher’s current employer is also informed.

If the teacher is currently employed by a school or early childhood centre, and the Evaluator is satisfied the employer can deal with the competence issue, the Evaluator will liaise with the school or centre to reach an agreement.

If the Evaluator decides to investigate, the teacher is given a chance to comment on the information the Evaluator receives, and to provide relevant evidence.

The Professional Practice Evaluator writes a report when they’ve finished their investigation. If the report finds the teacher hasn’t reached the required level of competence, the report will make recommendations for what needs to be done.

The teacher is given a copy of the report, and again they’re given an opportunity to comment.

What happens after the Professional Practice Evaluator's investigation?

If the Evaluator recommends that conditions be placed on the teacher’s practising certificate or authority to teach, they can work with the teacher to reach an agreement about these conditions. This could also include recording conditions on the Teachers’ Register (“annotating” the register). If the teacher doesn’t agree to the conditions, the Evaluator can refer their report on to the Competence Authority (see below).

If the Evaluator recommends cancelling the teacher’s practising certificate, they refer their report to the Competence Authority for it to consider (see below).

The Evaluator can also refer the teacher to the impairment process if the Evaluator thinks a health issue or other problem may be affecting the teacher’s ability to teach. To read about this process, click here.

The Evaluator can also recommend no further action.

The Competence Authority and its powers

If the Professional Practice Evaluator refers the teacher to the Competence Authority, the teacher will be notified and given the opportunity to provide the Authority with written submissions, and also appear in person in front of the Authority. The teacher has the right to be represented by a lawyer or other advocate.

The Competence Authority will meet to consider the Evaluator's report and the teacher’s comments and written submissions. The meeting will include at least three members of the Authority.

If the Competence Authority is satisfied the teacher isn't competent to teach, it can decide to:

  • place conditions on the teacher’s practising certificate or authority to teach
  • annotate the public online Teachers’ Register by recording a brief note against the teacher's registration or authority to teach
  • take no further action
  • in the most serious cases, the Authority may cancel the teacher’s registration, practising certificate and limited authority to teach. 

The Competence Authority may refer the issue back to the Professional Practice Evaluator if it needs more information. If it’s concerned a health or other problem may be affecting the teacher’s ability to teach, the Competence Authority may refer this to the Impairment Committee.

The Teaching Council monitors whether the teacher is complying with any conditions imposed on the teacher. When we are satisfied the teacher has met the conditions, we can release the teacher from the conditions.

Notification of the outcome of the competence process

Once the competence process has ended, the following people must be informed of the outcome:

  • the teacher
  • the teacher’s current employer, and
  • the person who made the original report or complaint (if this wasn’t the employer).